The Loy Yang B Gippsland Power has suffered its second defeat of the season, going down to the highly-rated Murray Bushrangers 15.12.102 to 8.9.57.
Both sides were without key players and the Power were missing 10 of their best through state duties and injury leading the team to call on five debutants.
Captain Tim Membrey, Nick Graham, Will Hams, Ryley Hall, Jack Leslie and Ben Kearns were playing for Vic Country against the Metro boys while Anthony Tipungwuti played for the Northern Territory side against Queensland.
Shannen Lange was playing with the Casey Scorpions in the Victorian Football League, while Kaine Allen and Tom Fusinato were unavailable due to injuries.
On a positive note, Australian Football League stars Dyson Heppell and Nathan Vardy came to support their younger brothers, but they were not able to motivate the team enough to get them over the line.
Lachie Channing set a good example early in the game when he charged through a pack and kicked a fine goal.
Similarly hard and clever play by Drew McGrath set up Matt Northe for the side’s second, but the Bushrangers hit back immediately with two relatively simple majors as a consequence of fundamental Power skill errors.
Good forward pressure allowed Josh Scott to kick a timely reply for the Power, but the Bushrangers hit back easily to take a seven-point lead into the first change.
The Bushrangers applied constant pressure making it difficult for the Power to score, but they were also awarded some easy goals courtesy of Power errors in attack and through the midfield.
This scenario stood out in the second term when the Bushrangers piled on 10 goals with phenomenal ease.
Simon Geery kicked the Power’s only goal for the quarter.
The Bushrangers cut the Power to pieces with their disciplined and skilful play.
By the long break the contest was over as the Bushrangers led by 62 points and had the Power at their mercy.
Nick Stevens highlighted what was going wrong for the boys during the break, and then challenged them strongly to work harder and smarter in the second half.
However, things got worse early in the third quarter when the Bushrangers scored another simple goal.
To their credit, the Power responded positively and some clever hands by Nate Paredes set up rookie Brenton Hillard for a vital reply.
Stevens’ talk had obviously been listened to as they worked hard to shut down the Bushrangers’ scoring avenues.
Some great forward pressure by the Power gave Deery his second and by the end of the quarter, the Bushrangers’ run seemed to have stopped and they went into the last term 56 points up.
The last term was more of the same for the Power, as they improved in defence and made better decisions going into attack.
Northe showed fine skills to give Paul Pattison a goal and Deery marked strongly to score another for the Power.
By the final siren the margin had been reduced to 45 points and the Bushrangers had been kept goalless in the final quarter by the Power.
To highlight how poorly the Power responded to the hard-working Bushrangers, Stevens had to express his disappointment with how his players performed, as it appeared they were not taking the loss seriously coming back into the rooms.
Stevens spoke well on the issue and set the boys a major challenge for the rest of the season.
Final scores Murray Bushrangers 15 goals 12 behinds 102 points defeated Loy Yang B Gippsland Power 8 goals 9 behinds 57 points.
The goal kickers for the Power were Simon Deery 3, Matt Northe, Lachie Channing, Josh Scott, Paul Pattison and Brenton Hillard all had one each.
The Power now go into another important game against arch-rivals the Dandenong Stingrays, that always give the Power a tough time regardless of ladder positions.
While still without many star players due to the nationals, the Stingrays will respond to the challenge of playing the Power with gusto.
Stevens will work hard to address the many faults in the mental and physical application of the side last week, and will use selection as a critical tool to fix the problems.